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The Heart of the Guardian

6-Month Intensive Skills Program

Heart of the Guardian

Apply Now for the 2015 program, beginning in January!

» Protect yourself, your family, your friends and your community during an emergency or unrest situation.

» Provide for those in your care, both through advance preparations and "using what you have" during an unexpected event.

» Persevere through any and all circumstances, building and confirming the bonds of Community.

» Prevail despite the odds that may be stacked against you, bringing yourself, your family, your friends and your community through difficult, unexpected or emergency situations.

"A Community is not a place you go to. It is something you build up around yourself."
      — Eddie Starnater

Apply Online Now!
Application Deadline: December 15th

About the Program

Heart of the Guardian
Over 100 hours of instruction!
Upcoming Session:
     January – June 2015
Meets:                       One 2-day weekend each month (See dates below.)
Location:                   Practical Primitive, Great Meadows, NJ
Application Deadline:  December 15, 2014
Apply:  Apply Online or By Mail (or by calling Julie at 908-637-8137)

We all feel it; our world is changing. We live in a very different time than most of us hoped, planned or expected to be. Things that had always happened "somewhere else" are now happening much closer to home. Many of us have already experienced disasters (such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy) on levels that we never thought we would see. We have all seen the news reports of civic situations that escalated farther and faster than they probably should have. Many people are quick to lay blame, but the fact is that, no matter the reason, no matter the "fault", we all now need to consider how we will fare if and when we find ourselves in emergency or disaster situations. We all need to be prepared to take care of ourselves, our loved ones and our community. We all need to think about, consider and plan our decisions and reactions in advance, so that we are not caught unprepared should an unexpected situation take us over.
So how do you do that?
Where do you start?
What do you need to know?
What kinds of plans do you need to make?

Emergency KitsHeart of the Guardian will take you, step-by-step, through the plans you need to create and immplement for your family to be prepared to meet all of your needs during any type of emergency situation you may face. We will look at each participant's situations and requirements, and work with you to build a series of plans that will allow you to be confident in your ability to protect your family's health and safety and keep your community as safe as it is possible to be. Let's face it, disasters are when the most people need help, and when emergency services and stretched beyond their limit. The more people who are ready, willing and prepared to look after their own needs, the more time, energy and resources can be used to assist people who really need help, resulting in a better and safer situation for everyone.

Throughout the Heart of the Guardian you will examine realistic emergency situations that have occurred in other parts of the country and the world, and learn what to do under similar circumstances; what you can and should do to keep safe, and give you and your family the strategic advantage. Please note that this is NOT a "Prepper" course. We are NOT "apocalysts" or "lone wolf" advocates, nor will we be discussing unrealistic, apocalyptic zombie-war prophecies of doom. There are enough real-world disaster scenarios for which to prepare, and we believe that Community is our greatest ally in facing any type of disaster.

Through the Guardian program and by the end of these 6 months you will:

Stick-work self-defenseYou will also learn:

We are working to bring you guest instructors and speakers with actual real-life experience in diverse crisis, disaster and civil unrest situations, in order to separate myth from reality and help you better understand the truth of what it takes to survive in such circumstances.
Beginning in January and running through June, this program is based around protecting and providing for your community, and persevering through and prevailing over whatever adverse conditions you may find yourself in.
Only a limited number of students will be admitted.

"The Guardian class changed the way I look at the world.
I feel a greater awareness of what's going on around me
and a greater responsibility to help my friends and neighbors."
      — Stan P. (2012 Guardian)

The Heart of the Guardian — The Purpose and Philosophy behind this Program

Guardians 2012The goal of this program is to provide you with a realistic understanding of what it takes to prepare for and persevere through situations where societal norms no longer apply and you must fend and care for yourself and your loved ones until order is restored or you are able to get to a safe place.
Like all our Intensive Skills Programs, The Heart of the Guardian is meant to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. We have done our best to build a program in which it will be practical for virtually anyone participate. We will NOT be dealing with apocalyptic fear scenarios or teaching anything that will put you at odds with law enforcement, and we will be following all local, state and federal laws.
Our focus will be on building community, not on "lone wolf" or "run to the wilderness" fantasies. Humans are a "pack" species — we need each other! — and by working now to build a strong community base of family, friends, co-workers and neighbors who are prepared to work together and see each other through a crisis situation, everyone's odds of safety and survival increase.

We chose to call this program The HEART of the Guardian because that is where our greatest strength lies; in our hearts.

"For Civilization to Survive, the Human Race has to remain Civilized."
      — Rod Serling

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Program FAQs

Q. How do I apply and when is the deadline?
A. You can apply for the Heart of the Guardian program online, or download a printable PDF to mail in, or give us a call at 908-637-8137. All applications must be received by midnight December 15, 2014.

Q. Why do I have to apply? Why can't I just sign up ?
A. The truth is that, thanks in part to the proliferation of television shows like "Doomsday Preppers", "Doomsday Bunkers" and all the other apocalypse-oriented shows, there are some folks out there who don't subscribe to the same Community-oriented approach to this as we do. It is important to us that we understand why this program is important to you and we want to do our best to ensure that everyone who participates in The Heart of the Guardian is doing so to help make their world a better, safer place for all. The only way we can figure out how to do that is to ask you a few questions first. We hope you don't mind, and that it won't stop you from joining us! (If you would rather talk to us in person instead of on paper, feel free to call Julie at 908-637-8137.)

Q. How many people will be in the Guardian program?
A. Everything we do is all small groups. The number of students accepted will be based on the applications received, but as with all of our Intensive Skills programs, spaces are limited to no more than eight.

Q. Is there an age limit?
A. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for the Heart of the Guardian program. There is no upper age limit and so long as you are physically able to complete the course-work we encourage you to apply!

Q. Where do the weekends take place and where will I stay?
A. The weekend get-togethers all take place at our main Pracitcal Primitive location near Great Meadows, NJ. (Check out our Locations page for more detailed information and directions.) Participants may stay on-site overnight — there is plenty of room to pitch a tent or hang a hammock, or you don't have a tent or the weather turns bad, you can "crash" on the floor or one of the couches in the house over nights. You will have full access to facilities, and all meals will be provided over the course of the weekend.

Q. What is the schedule for the program?
A. Heart of the Guardian participants will gather for one weekend each month (Saturday & Sunday) for 6 months, beginning in January. We will get started at 9am Saturday morning and finish up around 4pm Sunday afternoon. Each weekend will be filled with intense hands-on instruction, information and discussion, an outline of the homework assignments for the upcoming month, as well as a debrief of the homework and exercises from the previous month.
Proposed Weekends:
January 17-18
February 21-22
March 21-22
April 18-19
May 16-17
June 21-22

Q. I have a conflict for one of the weekends listed on the schedule. What can I do?
A. Until the rest of our workshop schedule is set, variations can be made and the final dates will be based on the schedules of accepted participants, and agreed upon by all.

Q. I live far away & can not commute. Do you have a Residential option?
A. Yes, we do have Residential spaces available for an additional fee. If you would like more information please e-mail us for details.

Q. What sort of skills / experience do I need to have to apply?
A. There are no minimum or maximum skill or experience requirements. All who have an interest are encouraged to apply.

Q. What are you looking for in participants?
A. We are looking for people who want to spend their time, effort and energy to create a better world in which to live NOW, rather than focusing on unrealistic, impossible or apocalyptic outcomes for the human race. People who are concerned that, in a situation of crisis, emergency or unrest, the regular rules may not always apply and who want to be ready to care for themselves and their families in any circumstances. We are NOT looking for "bunker" mentality participants, or those who expect to take what they want through force.

Q. How much is the tuition for the Heart of the Guardian program and what is included?
A. The six-month Heart of the Guardian includes over 100 hours of instruction, all of the program supplies and materials, all of your meals during the Guardian weekends, as well as all facility rentals, fees and honorariums to Guest Instructors and Speakers, all for just $1500, or less than $15 per hour. (See our Payment Options below.)

Q. Do you offer any scholarships or tuition assistance?
A. We do not currently provide tuition assistance or work-study programs for Intensive Skills Programs, however our multiple flexible Payment Plan options will make the program affordable to everyone.


A $250 deposit is due upon acceptance into the program, with the balance payable via one of the following options:

Option 1: A single payment of the full balance amount of $1250 on or before the first day of the program.
Option 2: Three equal payments of $425, due at the January, February & March weekends. (Includes $25 fee for processing multiple payments.)
Option 3: Use PayPal Credit to recieve 6 months interest-free financing.

Heart of the Guardian:
Program Length:        6 Months
Upcoming Session:     January – June 2015
Location:                   Practical Primitive, Great Meadows, NJ
Tuition:                     $1500 ($250 deposit due upon acceptance.)
Application Deadline:  December 15, 2014
(or by calling Julie at 908-637-8137)

Applications must be received by MIDNIGHT DECEMBER 15, 2014.

If you have any questions about the program feel free to give us a call,
or send an e-mail to


Printable Application Form

If you would prefer to mail in your application you may download a printable copy. (This is a PDF file. Acrobat Reader is required.) Simply click on the "Print" icon at the top left of the form, or Save to save a copy to your computer for printing at a later time.
Please mail your completed application to:

Intensive Skills Studies Program
Practical Primitive
14 Sussex Lane
Great Meadows, NJ 07838

(To apply online click here.)

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